The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is a federal law that protects the rights of private sector employees to organize around working conditions and form unions. Section 7 of the NLRA gives workers the right to engage in “protected concerted activity” free from employer retaliation.
Protected concerted activity is when two or more employees take action for mutual aid or protection regarding their terms and conditions of employment. Some examples of protected concerted activity include: talking with one or more co-workers about working conditions, joining with co-workers to demand better working conditions, talking to a government agency about problems in the workplace, bringing group complaints to an employer’s attention, and organizing a union. In some circumstances, the NLRA may protect workers walking off the job due to critically unsafe working conditions. However, it is strongly recommended that workers speak with a labor lawyer before deciding to walk off the job.
It is unlawful for an employer to discharge, discipline, threaten, or interrogate employees about their protected concerted activity or union sentiments. If an employee’s rights under the NLRA are violated, then that employee can file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The North Carolina Regional Office of the NLRB can be reached by phone at (336)-631-5201.
The NLRA protects all workers regardless of immigration status, and a worker need not be part of a union to avail herself of Section 7 protections. Workers who have a union may also have other rights and obligations under their collective bargaining agreement with an employer. It is recommended that employees at a unionized workplace contact local union leadership to discuss these rights.
If you think your rights have been violated or have questions about your labor rights, call our firm toll free at 1-800-458-2541 or contact us online today.